How to fit a whole day into one picture

The framed print ready to hang

It’s that time of year again! I’m organising my show for Art on the Hill this coming weekend, 6th-7th October.

This year I’m especially grateful to Emily and Matt who have let me hold on to the framed composition of their wedding to show at the trail. It was the first of five weddings I sketched this summer.

Emily is a wedding photographer herself and she and Matt have a uniquely creative approach which was demonstrated by the way they could see that a 1950s school assembly hall would make a beautiful venue for their reception.

Normally, I fill a sketchbook during a wedding day and then the couple decide which scene they’d like for their final composition – the ceremony, the meal, the speeches, or perhaps a scene of everyone mingling and chatting. Emily and Matt came up with the idea of starting with the wedding vows at the left and moving through to the speeches and the queue for the fish and chip van who fed us all at the right hand side. This sounded like fun, but rather long and thin, so I came up with the idea of putting some parts of the day – groups posing for photos and the queue for fish and chips – outside the school hall’s large floor to ceiling windows. The raised area where I stood to sketch became the front of Counterslip Baptist Church where Emily and Matt were married.

Detail from the same print

I love the fact that you can find Matt and Emily three times within this final composition. I’m also pleased with the layers of colour. I struggled for a long time to put colour on such a busy scene. Too many distinctive colour blocks can wreck a fine network of sketched lines too easily, destroying its unity and its complexity. After lots of experiments, I duplicated some of my colour layers, rotating and moving them so that patterns and colour elements are repeated, drawing the whole scene together and adding to the sense of busy excitement that is exactly what I remember from the day.

If you’re local do come and have a look this weekend – details of the trail at